Oklahoma Wesleyan University’s Digital Cinema program won a Telly Award on May 22, 2018, for their documentary on the iconic La Quinta mansion. The 10-minute film won a Bronze Telly Award for the Non-Broadcast, General-History category. The project featured David Preston, Executive Director of the OKWU Foundation, great-grandson of H.V. Foster, owner of the mansion.
The Telly Awards is the premier award company honoring videos and television across all genres and screens. Founded in 1979, The Telly Awards receives over 12,000 entries each year from around the world. Entrants are judged by The Telly Awards Judging Council—a body of over 200 leading experts including advertising agencies, production companies, and major television networks. Some of the competition for OKWU’s documentary included films from companies like PBS Studios, CBS Interactive, Disney, ESPN, HBO, The History Channel, NBC, Time Warner, Fox, and Universal Studios.
The La Quinta mansion documentary was filmed in the spring of 2016 by OKWU’s “Directing the Documentary”class. The filming crew consisted of students Jason Atao, Gabriel Carr, Andrea Drake, Jalen Jackson, Alyssa Willetts, Sean Stedwell, and Jonathan Zapata, and was directed by Evan Hewitt, Assistant Professor of Communication Arts at OKWU. Says Hewitt, “It’s a great honor for our students to receive this recognition. Our program is young, but we are producing some exceptional work.”
OKWU’s Digital Cinema program offers students numerous opportunities to expand their knowledge with hands-on, interactive projects such as the documentary. 2018 graduate Alyssa Willetts says, “Creating the La Quinta documentary with my classmates was fun and challenging. Learning about the history of the mansion and how it has impacted our school and community really motivated us to tell a rich story that would educate others.”
The La Quinta Mansion was designed in 1930 by noted Kansas City architect Edward B. Delk. H.V. Foster, once known as the wealthiest man west of the Mississippi, located his new home on 152 acres, three miles from the center of town. The 32-room, Spanish-style mansion has 14 bathrooms and seven fireplaces. Construction was completed in 1932, and it served as the family home until Mr. Foster’s death in 1939. H.V. Foster made his fortune through wise business practices in the oil and gas industry.